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HERITAGE

colors, textures, shapes and details

The set of houses of our village reinterpret the traditional architecture of the region, of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Until the early twentieth century, Fátima was a very barren region, which sustained itself on grazing and subsistence agriculture, where everyone used to build their own house with the help of relatives and neighbors, based on the knowledge transmitted by their ancestors.

In a time when there were no means of communication or transportation, the population survived on the resources that nature provided them.

The walls were built with irregular stones collected in the region and attached by mortar made of red sand (terra rossa) and baked lime stone that hardened with time, materials that were, and still are, harvested and produced in the region.

The construction techniques and support of doors, windows and corners of the walls were based on the ancient techniques easily found in places that served as the setting or passage of Romans.

The cylindrical chimneys, like the Algarve chimneys, are traces of the Arab culture still present in this region.

“porch of slabs” HOUSEs

These type of houses had two forms of porches:

The oldest houses are characterized by low ceilings, more modest porches and simplicity in construction: two slabs of large dimensions placed in angular position.

The other type of porch was a little higher, formed by several encased slabs that were based on the same stone carved columns, which gave greater width to the passage, however, less shelter from heavy rains.

“PIAL PORCH” houses

The name "Pial porch" results from the the analogy made between the exterior walls and their resemblence to the benches of the windows of the vaulted roof cisterns where people put their pitchers of water.

In these houses, the porch is not outside, it is part of the actual house itself.

The entrance had the width of a door and, at the level of a person’s waist, it opened up on both sides, drawing the configuration of a “T” in the shadow zone.

This type of construction was motivated by protection from the weather, the coolness maintaind in hot summers.

It is one of the oldest types of houses that remain intact even today it being possible to see some well-preserved examples in the region.

EXPERIENCES, CULTURE AND TRADITION

CISTERN

The cistern was an essential element for the survival of the population in a harsh environment where soils did not allow water retention, serving as a collection system, storage and conservation of rainwater. For this reason, it was the construction that applied greater preciousness.

In this region, cisterns are usually built near dwellings for domestic use, whose coverage could take many forms, but always put high to create an air gap that avoid the water to be keep in good condition.  It was also usual to put fishe in the cistern to complete the hygiene system and cleanliness of the water. Although there is no evidence to support this, ancestors told of how this habit started at the time of the Reconquest to see if the water had been poisoned.

Its most common form, which served as inspiration for the hermitage, is known as vaulted roof tank, mistaken for small houses where the opening is slightly sheltered by a narrow porch.

In this type of cistern, there are two benches facing each other whose size was designed to support the collection of water, where people used to put their pitchers.

The two pyramids at the top of the entrance of the Mother House illustrates another type of cistern – the pyramidal roof tank- , rare for its complex construction.

The century-old cistern without coverage, located in front of the terrace, was built as a support to agricultural fields, serving as a mandatory stop for pastors who stopped there to eat lunch and provide water for their flocks, water filtered by sprigs of rosemary.

 

THRESHING-FLOOR

In a not so distant past, there was a smell in the air of corn, wheat and other cereals transported from the fields, on ox carts or on carts pulled by donkeys or mules.

The destination was the threshing-floor (eira), where those cereals were carefully placed to dry and later to be threshed, chosen and then separated. Those threshing-floors, besides being places of intense labor, were also - and not less importanty - a place to meet your neighbors, relatives and even, sometimes, other people from more distant lands, making of "eiras", important landmarks of the life of these villages.

Manuel Jacinto's threshing-floor, built by his own skillful hands in the 1930s, is now a reminder of those times, memories and past socializing. The motto is given so that whoever finds themselves on the  “eira”, can live and / or relive those emotions, so genuine and simple.

 

NATURAL CAVE 

In our garden will find a small cave modeled by time.

These small caves, resulting from the geomorphological characteristic of the region, served as shelter for shepherds in times of high rainfall or to cool off in the months of greatest heat.

Being in a region dominated by the presence of limestone, you can see throughout the region other surprising geological phenomena such as grottos, poljes and sinkholes.

 

WOOD OVEN

The wood oven was essential in the house because it was there that the bread was cooked, a staple food in their diet alongs with wine and olive oil.

The bread used to be served as a meal, along with olives, cheese, bacon, sausage or to simply wet the bread in olive oil.

In our space, you can taste some delicacies made in the wood oven, prepared according to traditional recipes.

 

SHEEP SHELTER

The sheep was a key animal in the history and culture of the region. In the 20th century, grazing was almost exclusively the responsibility of children between 7 and 13 years old, since adults were more engaged in agriculture. Goat and sheep milk, unappreciated, was mostly used to make cheese and their wool was used to make blankets or clothing, being any surplus sold to carders of Minde and Serras de Aire and Sto. António.

Nowadays, grazing is nearly extinct as an economic activity, however the project “Habitat Conservation” was born, gathering the municipality of Fátima and Pedrogão, creating a herd of 400 head of cattle, that spend all day running around the mountain with the mission of defending it and preventing fires and preservering the endangered plant species.

 

30s |40s OF THE 20th CENTURY houses

With technological development, the houses start to have a less rough aspect: inside, the whitewashed walls increase the brightness and salubrity; outside, they reflect the heat of summer and drained the rainwater and dew in the cold and wet nights.

The windows and doors start to have well-crafted frames, without stone reinforcements, which indicates greater care in the choice and placement of the building materials.

With gabled roofs, these houses maintain the traditional Portuguese tile, but the porch is no longer essential. If there were any, it was based on the stone columns of Moimento, more elaborate.

In the absence of a porch, the house walls become more colorful: the whitewashed walls start to have a blue or yellow lane hiding the dirt from the ground.

 

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